How to set your SharePoint index server to use a dedicated WFE server for crawling?
In our Farm, we are running with 3 WFEs. What I wanted to do is: Let the Search crawler hit and crawl the content from ONLY one WFE rather hitting and degrading the performance of all of the WFEs.
So, I went into "Central Administration > Operations > Services on Server > Office SharePoint Server Search" to get into the Search Service Settings. I chose "Use a dedicated web front end computer for crawling" option and chose a WFE from the list.
How simple it is...isn't it?
In case, If SharePoint does places the WRONG IP of the WFE in the HOST file of Index server, Revert the Search server setting to "Use all web front end computers for crawling" and get into the Index server, Manually place the desired WFE's IP which you wants to act as the dedicated crawl source.
Index server's HOST file can be found under: c:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc
add a appropriate entry like:
MSDN Link: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc261810%28office.12%29.aspx
Update: For SharePoint 2010:
Unfortunately, There is no UI or Direct way to achieve this. Still PowerShell comes to rescue!
You can set the SiteDataServers Property to achieve the similar functionality.
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